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30 October 2010 @ 03:05 am
In Disarray  
Summary: Five months is not an anniversary, and Link finds himself protective of Allen in more ways than necessary. Light Link/Allen/Link.
Written: November 2009
Notes: A fic I originally wrote for the kinkmeme a year ago. Now heavily revised and posted here. Fluff, not smut. No warnings.


Link watched as Walker tore into a leg of chicken, causing grease to run down his chin and spot his collar. It was the five-month anniversary of Link’s job inspecting Walker, and yet the Exorcist still—

No, one didn’t call that an anniversary. That hadn’t been the right word.

At any rate, the inspecting had been going on for five months, and despite Link’s best efforts Walker still hadn’t learned what constituted a proper, healthy breakfast, which was a shame, because it was for his own good that he stop living on a diet that was three-quarters meat and much of the remaining quarter dumplings in sweet sauce.

Link’s breakfast of three blueberry scones and a mug of cocoa was completely balanced, because he often had salads with lunch.

From right by Link’s ear came a loud “Heeey, morning, Allen!” This rude interruption startled Link from his musings. He sent a stern look towards Lavi and berated himself for not noticing his approach. Of course his assignment required him to focus on Walker, but he mustn’t let himself become distracted. Not that he was.

“Mrrrmph,” said Walker, who was still preoccupied with the chicken. Lavi slung one arm around his shoulders from behind and messed up his hair with the other hand. Walker’s face went right into the drumstick.

“That’s no way to say good morning, Allen,” Lavi said cheerfully while Link, ignored as usual, redoubled the force of his glare in hopes that the unspoken reprimand would penetrate Lavi’s skull and reach his brain, which Link believed, based on evidence such as this, to be wasted.

Walker coughed and, straightening, tossed the half-eaten drumstick back onto his plate. There was an obvious smear on his forehead and a larger stain on his shirt, and with his fine white hair in disarray he looked positively unkempt. “Did something good happen to you?” he asked.

“Nah, just saying hello.” Lavi pretended to discover Link. “What?”

“I should hope it’s obvious,” said Link. He knew that reacting to Lavi would only make it worse—Walker had said as much shortly after they’d met—but he couldn’t help saying something in the face of such immaturity.

Lavi grinned. He had an infuriating grin. “Can’t say it is.”

“It’s rude to treat one’s friend as you just did. Now we’ll have to do laundry again.”

“But we did laundry last week.” Walker was gnawing on the drumstick again, and did not seem particularly concerned about either his disheveled state or impending laundry.

Lavi waved a hand. “It’s not rude—you don’t mind, do you? See? Y’know, I’ve been around him for awhile now, you don’t need to protect him from me.” The mocking edge to his grin made Link straighten in indignation.

The Bookman’s apprentice grew more and more exasperating. Link had been by Walker’s side for some time himself, observing all the while. Photographic memory or no, did Lavi know how many stray pairs of socks ended up under Walker’s bed? (A great many, including some he had not previously seemed to own.) The many excuses he had come up with for not having a middle name to fill in on the forms? (Eventually followed by the most convincing reason: he had been abandoned by his parents at such a young age that if they’d ever told it to him, he’d forgotten.) His very favorite kind of cake? (Devil’s food, an unfortunate answer to write on a report.) The way he stared off into the distance sometimes, then shook some thought away to be replaced with a determined look?

Walker began running his fingers through his bangs, ineffectively.

Looking at Link the whole time, Lavi reached over and planted a hand on top of Walker’s head again, then twisted it.

“Look, Lavi, I don’t carry a hairbrush, so—”

Link extracted a handkerchief. Leaning over, he wiped at the smear on Walker’s forehead and cleaned the grease from his cheek.

Both Exorcists were staring at him.

“Ah—there was something on your face,” he said, folding and pocketing the dirty handkerchief.

“Can’t you just tell me? I think I can handle a stain,” said Walker. This was perfectly reasonable.

“That’s not all. Look at your hair,” said Link, and, though he knew it would do little good, he tried to smooth it with his gloved hands. It only resulted in static between the cloth and Walker’s hair between his fingers. Why wouldn’t it stay neat and in place?

Lavi made a sound that could only be called a snort. Interrupting again. “I think I’ll leave you two to breakfast,” he said. “So long.” And, finally, he left, laughing.

“Uh. Link.” Walker was looking over at him, gray eyes amused and a little too discerning. “My hair can’t look that bad, can it?”

Link pulled his hands away. Then he reached back to flip a strand of hair that was going entirely the wrong direction. Walker gave a wry half-smile.

Perhaps the best option would be to turn back to the table and eat another scone. He tried this.

“Really, you don’t need to protect me like that.”

Yes, he did.

“Lavi’s Lavi, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not like that idiot Kanda, although—” (and here Allen pointed his fork at Link) “—I can handle him myself.”

“Hmm. Scone?”

“Don’t try to distract me…but sure.”

Link reminded himself that of all those Walker might need shielding from, his fellow Exorcists were unlikely to be among them. As he was doing this, he noticed that Walker’s collar had gone awry too. One lapel was flipped up. He tried to ignore it, but it was not easy. Why didn’t the Bookman’s apprentice focus on his duty of recording the course of the war, instead of acting like a child?

“Remember to brush your hair,” Link said in as severe a tone as he could manage.


They were walking back to the room, turning on the staircase landing where the morning sun cast rays, when Link could stand it no longer, and paused.

“Walker.”

The Exorcist stopped and looked at him.

Link stepped close and tugged his collar straight. It was still stained, but at least it would look neat from afar. “There,” he said briskly, but before he could hurry up the next flight of stairs, Walker put a hand to his collar. Link was conscious of their hands touching, although they both wore gloves.

“Thanks, Link.” Why was he smiling in just that way? It was as if, paused here in the warmth of the landing, he knew something Link didn’t. After all their months together, Link felt he ought to know the reasons behind all that Walker might do, and it troubled him when he did not. Even though one person was not that simple, and Walker had a second haunting the first.

Link shook his head slightly and gave Walker a look that questioned why they were still standing there.

And, finding himself unable to look for long at that frank smile, he started up the next flight. After all, the day’s duties were ahead of them.

Breakfast had not been pleasant, but the rest of their anniversary might—

No, not anniversary.

“No, I haven’t forgotten that my hair’s all messed,” said Walker as he opened the door.

Link stopped what he’d been about to say.

“Aha, I knew you were going to say it. You’re not the only one who notices things about people. It’s been what, six months now?”

Oh, never mind. Anniversary it was. He ought to bake a devil’s food cake to commemorate the occasion.

“Five.”

“Well, it’ll be six soon.” Walker knelt by his bed, sheets creased more than they should be, and felt under it. He was humming to himself, no piano melody but a snatch of folk song.

Link started to flip through a sheaf of papers on his desk to make certain they were in order.

He knew the page of the Secretary’s cookbook on which the devil’s food cake recipe could be found, and although his tastes had recently inclined towards pumpkin pie, he would enjoy the cake as well. Now why was Walker still rummaging under the bed? Was he going after every mismatched sock that had collected there in the last week? It would not be so irksome if they were all the same color, like Link’s. That he owed to Central’s uniform codes, which later became habit. His were all black.

Link flipped five pages back through the documents, since he hadn’t seen them the first time. Here were several pages bearing Walker’s name and handwriting. He set them aside. Here were more with his own. Come to think of it, he did not have a middle name either, that he knew of.

Walker had emerged from under the bed. Link looked up and saw him holding the hairbrush out to him handle-first. He stared.

“Since you’ll probably do a better job.”

“You’re right.” Link accepted the brush and the words, unusual though they were, as Walker smiled and waited.

 
 
Current Music: Second Person - The Alphabet Song
 
 
 
the walls are whisperingsinistersundown on October 30th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
I loved this when it was originally posted, and I love it just as much now. You capture them so perfectly. ♥
symbolism_egg: Jas Profile ; insanancesymbolism_egg on October 31st, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
Ohh, so you saw it then too.

Thank you. &hearts
Jay the Canadian: nabari // koumei - the first embracefurtherthannear on October 31st, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
*KEYSMASHES FOREVER* Okay, okay, I'm off on CLOUD HAPPY right now, so I can't coherently review this, but expect me to return to leave you a very long and detailed and most likely CAPSLOCK filled one tomorrow.

&hearts

(I'm so sorry for turning into a giggly wreck, but... you know how I am.)
symbolism_egg: Inspectorsymbolism_egg on November 1st, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
*JOY*

I shall look forward to it! And at any rate, thanks for this comment. :)
Jay the Canadian: nabari // koumei - the first embracefurtherthannear on November 6th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Aaaaand, I'm finally back after days and days and days. lmao, I am terrible with keeping dates, as you may have noticed.

On to the review!

First off all, I'm not sure how on earth I managed to miss this come up on the kink meme. I'm quite sure I haven't read it before, because this was so spot-on that I think I would have remembered it. But, ah, I don't. So go me.

What I really love here is that you manage to breathe life and emotion into Link (which is your specialty, of course~) without breaking the flow of the story. It reads like it comes from Link. And I am SO JEALOUS of that.

The way you wrote the Lavi-Allen interaction was great. Link trying to double his glare power to get the point across to Lavi made me laugh, because it's a fruitless effort to begin with. XD And I had a bit of a Link moment just imagining the grease stain down Allen's face from headbutting into his drumstick. EW, please clean your face right now, Allen.

This line: Photographic memory or no, did Lavi know how many stray pairs of socks ended up under Walker’s bed? (A great many, including some he had not previously seemed to own.) made me smile. It's great. But then you went on for a few sentences and we got this: His very favorite kind of cake? (Devil’s food, and unfortunate answer to write on a report.) and I kind of lost it laughing. I can just imagine the reaction that Allen would have gotten the first time he mentioned that to Link.

And another line I'm going to have to quote here is this one: Looking at Link the whole time, Lavi reached over and planted a hand on top of Walker’s head again, then twisted it. because it FITS. So well. It's such a Lavi thing to do. It's friendly (for the most part) interaction with Allen that ALSO gets Link into a bit of a knot! Fabulous.

And, of course... when Link began fussing over Allen's face and hair like a mother hen, that was about when I hit cloud happy like I said in that previous comment. It's great, too, because when I read that Link tried to smooth his hair down while wearing gloves, I knew it was going to create static. AND YOU MENTION IT. Attention to little details like that can make a story for me.

As for my favourite line in the whole story, it's gotta be this one: “Thanks, Link.” Why was he smiling in just that way? It was as if, paused here in the warmth of the landing, he knew something Link didn’t.

I got a very vivid image from that. The nuance of Allen's smile, as well as just... what the scene looked like. Just from those three sentences. It was fantastic and I love you for it.

Everything after that line was pure gold, too. Allen mentioning that he hadn't forgotten to brush his hair, right before Link brought it up again--and also Allen with the whole "it's been six months now?", and the folk song. I didn't realize until I read that how tired the idea that all Allen hums are classic piano melodies anymore. This, too: "Come to think of it, he did not have a middle name either, that he knew of." Yes. Love that bit.

Your ending is also perfect. I got the fuzzies from it. It's understated and nice and it's perfect because of those things. It's something I could imagine happening in canon, if behind the scenes. Very good.

&hearts

(So, did that make up for how long this took me? :'D)
symbolism_egg: omgJas (by me)symbolism_egg on November 7th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
That was an amazing comment.
OH WOW THANK YOU FOR THIS DETAILED COMMENT. Once again I am unworthy.

It was on one of the earlier pages of the meme, though that version was shorter and somewhat unpolished. The general idea's the same, though, so I guess you didn't see it. (It turned out this version needed a little more work too--I just fixed quite a few typos. I guess I shouldn't have typed up the revisions so late at night.)

I love writing Link's POV, but I also feel as if I can't quite capture his character. There is some leeway in interpretations, though--how cynical is he, how innately kind? I'm not sure if this makes it easier to write him well or more difficult. At any rate, I'm glad when he comes across as himself in fic. And don't you be jealous, because judging from Lenalee you can capture characters' personalities and charms quite well.

Now Lavi I have very little experience writing, so it's great to hear that he seemed in-character as well.

If the scene on the landing had a sort of warm feeling to it, then...that's good.

I haven't read widely enough to have seen Allen humming piano melodies in fics, as far as I recall, but I thought he might be rather sick of them and associate folk songs with happier things.

I prefer understatement (uh, except in crack, obviously) because it seems more powerful to me and tends to affect me more than dramatic proclamations of love or whatever it is when I'm reading something. (Although that can depend on how well the author pulls it off, whether it's in-character, and how much buildup it has.) It also depends on the character. Link, of course, displays very little emotion.

(IT IS A BEAUTIFUL COMMENT and thank you for coming back to share your reactions. ;A; Also, I actually have no right to complain since I can be very slow responding to comments or posting things myself.)

(I think the comment gods will now forever be on your side.)
Christy: dgm -- allen walkerrinhail on February 16th, 2011 10:20 am (UTC)
I'm really beginning to enjoy these two. Thanks again for the wonderful fic. :)
symbolism_egg: Evil Jas ; onsensongsymbolism_egg on February 17th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Oh man, really? Awesome. Thanks for reading and commenting (again)!
Christyrinhail on February 18th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
I'm slowly getting back into D.Gray-man after abandoning it for months. I plan to go back and read the entire series whenever I finish the anime. :)
symbolism_egg: Evil Devi ; anonymous_proxysymbolism_egg on February 20th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Cool. Have fun rereading!

I haven't liked many of the recent chapters, though I'm still reading for the characters. I should reread the more recent volumes, myself--it's easy to forget the details of whatever the heck is going on here.
Christy: vesperia -- flynn & yuririnhail on February 22nd, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. <3

Do you have any desired ends for the characters? Plot?
symbolism_egg: mystified Jas (by me)symbolism_egg on February 22nd, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Hmm...that's a tough question. I do hope the Noahs get to stay together, whatever happens to them. If they were exiled into their Ark never to return, that would be a fitting punishment that avoids killing them. (I had a Noahfic idea based on that, but I've never gotten around to it--although the Big Bang fic I'm working on involves that concept from the other side, outside the Ark. I'm fond of this idea.)

Link should change jobs and work at a bakery.

Other than that, I have no idea. Where could the plot be going!?

How about you? :)
Christy: naruto -- uzumaki familyrinhail on February 23rd, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
I do as well. There aren't many "evil organizations" in anime/manga that I take such a strong liking too. I'd be very disappointed if something terrible were to happen to them. But if that were to happen it wouldn't be the first time a manga ending fell short.

Haha! Wait a minute... I can actually picture Link working in a bakery. Wow. I'd certainly be a customer. :)

Me? I actually haven't given it much thought. I try not to think of how I'd like things to end because if it doesn't go my way I'll feel ten times depressed. Haha! I'm kinda selfish when it comes to anime/manga.

I can say I do hope all the characters stories are told to their finales. I don't really like loose ends. And I also hope they each have some sort of happy ending.
symbolism_egg: Evil Jas ; onsensongsymbolism_egg on February 25th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
I tend to like villains, but even so the Noah Clan stands out. :D But yeah, manga endings are pretty hit-or-miss.

See? I'm sure he'd manage to fit right in. I would go to that bakery if I could, too...mmm, pastries.

Ah, I see! The ending of DGM is hard to predict, too (at least for me).

I don't like loose ends either. I could see either a happy or a bittersweet ending to the series. I don't think she'll end it by killing everyone off, but...who knows.

Oh, and I would love to see Miranda and Marie hooking up and running a shop somewhere. It would be nice if Miranda could find a job she were good at, lol.
Christy: higashi -- akira & sakirinhail on February 26th, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
I watched more episodes of the anime and my love for the Noah grew. They really are unique in the files of villians in anime/manga. I hope they stay around for a looong time. Well, at least they will in fandom. <3

Oh God yes, she needs a job that she's good at. I think partnered up with Marie in a little shop would be the best thing for her. He seems to be a good match for her. :)
symbolism_egg: family timesymbolism_egg on March 2nd, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
Yes. Since Rhode and Tyki are currently kidnapping Allen, perhaps they'll get more screentime now besides the battle scenes.

Their shop will be down the road from Link's bakery.